The Lineup
B.I.R. Column Of Fame
Man of Steel... Wood... and Mud: Bear Grylls
Rock Legend: Tom Morello

League Gods: The Emperor and Alfie

Str-8 Shoota: Malcolm X

Str-8 Shoota: Zack de la Rocha

Super Bad mofo's

Comrade Hillary

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The End is Nigh (for some) 

Better get these picks in early because I'll be away up north over the weekend checking my crops (or celebrating somebodies 30th birthday).

Cowboys (30) v Bulldogs (26) - My head is telling me the Bulldogs will win simply because they bloody well have to, but something else is telling me that the Bulldogs will crack up there as the Cowboys look to shit on them in front of their home crowd. So Cowboys for me, but if Thurston or Bowen gets rested then all bets are off (or moved sideways on to the Bulldogs). Cowboys will finish 3rd while the Bulldogs can finish from 4th to 9th (realistically 8th is the worst for them though).

Tigers (24) v Knights (18) - Tigers to win no worries but not by enough to save their arse. Knights are getting thrashed to death with the wooden spoon and by god do they deserve it. The Tigers have fallen apart but if they flog the Knights by about 40 and either the Broncos or Rabbitohs lose then they can make the 8. Mathematically they can finish 5th but realistically they will finish 8th or 9th.

Rabbitohs (26) v Roosters (21) - Rabbit shephards because they will be desperate as fuck not to wreck all their hard work. Rabbits can finish 4th to 9th but will likely finish 6th to 8th. The Roosters could finish 10th or 13th.

Panthers (18) v Warriors (27) - Warriors, but if the Panthers play the type of willy nilly silly billy football they can be quite good at and the ref decided not to do us any favours and we play a bit of dumb football.... we are fucked. Warriors can seal 4th with a win but could slip as far back as 7th if they lose and the Rabbits, Broncos, Bulldogs and Eels all win (unlikely but not outside the realms of possibility). I would suggest a loss would line us up away to the Cowboys in week 1.

Raiders (20) v Sharks (20) - Raiders at home are a pack of bastards to beat. Raiders could finish as high as 10th and as low as 15th. The Sharks could finish from 10th to 14th.

Sea Eagles (36) v Dragons (20)- Sea Eagles by plenty. Sea Eagles won't change positions regardless of the result while the Dragons could finish anywhere from 10th to 15th.

Eels (26) v Broncos (24)- no idea with this one. The Broncos will miss the playoffs with a loss and a Tigers win for the first time in their history which leads me to the idea that they could pull it out but the Eels have to win to avoid playing away to the Storm or Sea Eagles in week one so maybe I'll just go for them. Eels by 6. Eels could finish anywhere from 4th to 9th but would have to get dicked to go lower than 8th. Broncos can finish from 5th to 9th.

Storm (42) v Titans (22) - Storm will be looking to avoid injuries but will be a bit ancy about putting out a good performance as a final hitout and the Titans will know they are going to lose already so Storm by 25. Storm can't go up or down on the ladder. Titans could mathematically make the top 8 if the Broncos and Tigers both lose and they beat the Storm by a score of around 180-0. They better hope for half a dozen sendoffs in the first few minutes. More likely though the Titans will finish from 10th to 14th.

And for the rugby... Waikato to hold onto the shield 36-15.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I don't get it files 

From the I don't get it files comes this...

News that Wellington may start charging people for coming into the city centre during peak hour.

Umm, why would you charge people who are harming nobody but themselves?

The council would make a bloody fortune and there would be less cars on the roads but who benefits apart from those collecting the money?

Those who still use the roads will now be significantly out of pocket, and those who can't afford to use the roads will be majorly inconvenienced.

Traffic congestion harms nobody but road users for all intents and purposes. Sure people might like to cross empty streets, and receive couriered mail a bit quicker but seriously, this is like charging people for having a messy bedroom.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Round 24 picks 

Bulldogs v Storm - Storm

Knights v Cowboys - ooohh, a tough one. Cowboys.

Sharks v Titans - Titans

Roosters v Panthers - Roosters

Broncos v Raiders - Broncos

Vodafone v Manly - Warriors in front of 25,000 mostly home fans

Tigers v Rabbitohs - Rabbitohs

Dragons v Eels - Eels


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Now it's Slingshot's Turn 

For fucks sakes. This reminds me of the couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery expression. These bastards can't even electronically take my money. I would have thought they have a slight advantage given the nature of THEIR FUCKING BUSINESS!!!!

First of all we switch over to Slingshot from telecom because Telecom are a bunch of theiveing incompetent pricks.

Then our phone goes to shit and we can't get any calls. This goes on for about a week. We call up, get some vague as shit response and the next day still nothing. After more calls it gets sorted out eventually. So I make a complaint by email that we are paying for something that we haven't received so should get something taken off the bill.

No response.

Then our phone goes to shit again and we can't get any calls.

Another call and complaint about the lack of response to the email and a techinician shows up fixes the problem (kind of) and finally some money is taken off the bill. Certainly nothing for the pain and suffering, it was strictly a claculated amount based on the time we have not been able to take calls only.

And now, to bake the fucken cake, I get a letter in the mail saying we owe 192 dollars and our broadband will be cut off.

But guess what?

For the best part of a year we were getting the bills automatically deducted from my credit card. They simply stopped doing this despite it being my chosen method of payment which you can see clear as shit in their own website. And send us the typical threatening letter.

When in fucks name will technology make life easier? I ask you? Never as long as people are manning it is probably the answer. Roll on Terminator 3 - rise of the machines I say.

I'll work for a machine, so long as it bills me properly.

The Clintonesqe Response... 

In response to the question du jour: "Yes, I have been to a strip club, but I didn't like it, and I didn't open my eyes."

Or you could just try something along the lines of "For fuck's sake, who cares."

Pickin's after round 23 

The Rabbitohs beat the Sea Eagles. Fair to say neither of the resident tipsters saw that one coming, although we all knew it would be a tightly contested match-up. On the one hand this makes things even tighter for the Warriors with yet another team (the Rabbitohs) in contention for the top 8. On the other, perhaps morale will be down at Manly, and we can give them an old-fashioned hiding next weekend. That would partly make up for the very damaging loss at Canberra.

Here's some commentary from a learned colleague at sportsfreak:
Yet another lead blown against mediocre opposition. 10 point lead v the Raiders, 10 point lead v the Knights, 8 point lead v the Rabbitohs (luckily got out of jail), 12 point lead v the Roosters, 8 point lead v the Sharks, 2 point lead v the Melbourne reserve grade team.

I reckon their confidence would have taken a MASSIVE dent and we will be very lucky to beat the Sea Eagles next week and avoid heading off to the Panthers with our season on the line.

Some interesting stats for you all

Warriors 90 tries

51 in the first half and 39 in the second half.

Against 72 tries

32 in the first half and 40 in the second half.

Our wins have been by 16, 10, 20, 2, 10, 40, 18, 28, 12, 40, and 24 so only one win all season by less than 10 points. Our losses have been by 18, 3, 2, 6, 4, 24, 20, 2, 6 and 2. So that's seven losses by less than 10 points. We should form a choking club with the Sharks.

Anyway, if Manly had won I would be back over 60% success in tipping.

Yamis 94 correct out of 152 picks = 61.8%

DC_Red 50 correct out of 84 picks = 59.5%

Bennyasena 65 correct out of 114 picks = 57% (retired)

Friday, August 17, 2007


Harawira accuses taser cop of racism

A top cop has been accused of saying that Maori and Pacific Island people get tasered more then others because they have a propensity to commit violent crime.

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira told Parliament that the operational support manager of the Taser gun trial, Superintendent John Rivers, had made the comments at a meeting with the Maori Party.

Mr Harawira told MPs Mr Rivers had said Maori and Pacific Island people were more than half of the subjects of Taser use simply because: "Maori and Pacific people have a greater propensity to commit violent crimes."

The question of whether Maori and Pacific people have a greater propensity to commit violent crime than other ethnic groups is, in the first instance, a question of fact. If there is a statistically significant greater likelihood of Maori and Pacific Islanders committing violent crime, then it is not racist to point this out. I guess one would need to bear in mind that the ethnicity of the offender is not always known, especially if they aren't actually caught. And that arguably Police might focus on catching people of some ethnicities rather than others. But this said, either Maori and Pacific people ("men" presumably) commit more violent crimes per capita than other ethnic groups, or they don't.

Going on to explain any observable differences in terms of 'innate racial qualities' ("warrior genes" and so on), might be racist ... but pointing out the difference in the first instance sure ain't.

Here's some figures:

Number of cases involving resulting in conviction for violent offences in 2003:

NZ European offenders 3652 (about 89% were men - is it also sexist to point this out?)

Maori offenders 4501

Pacific offenders 1246

Other 296
(for all convictions, 48% of "Other" are "Asian", and 29% "Indian")

So, Maori made up 46.4% of those convicted of violent crimes, compared with 15% of the total population. That's a three-fold over-representation. Even allowing for hypothetical cases of heavier policing of Maori communities, and Maori being less likely on average to be able to afford good defence lawyers, and even some discrimination against Maori in the court system, etc,. I conclude they have a higher propensity to commit violent crime than NZ Europeans and others.

Pacific people made up about 12.8% of the offenders, compared with 7% of the total population. A notable, but far less dramatic, over-representation.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Word to the Murda 

Manly game set to sell out
Warriors tickets have been selling like hot cakes ahead of their final NRL home game against the Manly Sea Eagles next week. More than 20,000 tickets have already been sold for the match with ten days to go before kick off. Last week against the Titans 20,609 turned up to Mt Smart Stadium - the biggest crowd since 2003 - and CEO Wayne Scurrah is hoping the game could be the first sell out since the inaugural 1995 season. The capacity at Mt Smart is 27,000.

Brisbane v Bulldogs - should be match of the round. If the Broncos lose their season is on the line.

North Queensland v St George Illawarra (Faumuina is gone for the season but so are the Dragons)

Newcastle v Penrith - The battle for the wooden spoon. Two crap teams dueling to the death.

Souths v Manly - The second most important match of the round. For the Sea Eagles a chance to stay on Melbournes case for the minor premiership. For the Rabbitohs a loss will all but end their dream of the playoffs.

Canberra v New Zealand - While Canberra are a much better team at home (6-4) the Warriors will have to have a majorly big fall in form to lose this one as its the 4th best attack (over 4 tries a game) v the 2nd worst defence (5 tries a game). Warriors have a 4 win, 5 loss and 1 draw record away which they will need to improve to 6-5-1 if they want a top 4 spot.

Cronulla v Wests Tigers - The Sharks will be buoyed by last week where they climbed from second to last to 12th with an away win v the 3rd placed Eels. If they could close the season with wins over the Tigers (H), Titans (H) and Raiders (A) believe it or not they could make the playoffs on points differential if the Tigers have one more slip up and the Broncos only win one from three.

Melbourne v Parramatta - I don't know why but I fucken hate Parramatta.

Gold Coast Titans v Sydney Roosters - I fucken hate the Roosters but just see them rolling on here and if the Tigers and Rabbitohs lose they will miraculously be in the top 8.

Actually, in order of hate this is it for me.

1. Dragons
2. Roosters
3. Eels
4. Raiders
5. Broncos
6. Sea Eagles
7. Bulldogs
8. Knights
9. Panthers
10. Rabbitohs
11. Cowboys
12. Sharks
13. Titans
14. Storm
15. Tigers
16. Warriors

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I've read too many classics over the last couple of days not to offer a select few for your consideration:

The not very reassuring award: "Water safe to drink despite uranium"

The ironic sports team behaviour award: "Sharks turn on each other after win"

The "well d'uh" award: "Bush's brain steps down" (and the variants that were fairly ubiquitous yesterday).

That last one barely merits any comment whatsoever, it's hilarity being so self-evident.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pickin's after round 22 

Yamis 90 correct out of 144 picks = 62.5%

DC_Red 45 correct out of 76 picks = 59.2%

Bennyasena 65 correct out of 114 picks = 57% (retired)

It's quite exciting as we get to the business end of the season. I think I should receive some small bonus for picking Manly to demolish the Knights by more than 30 points. The winning margin was 34 points.

And the Cowboy's last-gasp win last night means the Warriors are back in 5th position. Keep winning guys.


Friday, August 10, 2007

NRL Round 22 

After a polite inquiry from Leg Break of Sportsfreak fame and err... fortune, I have gone back and worked out our NRL pick success rate for the whole year.

In first place we have yamis with 85 correct from 136 equalling 62.5%

Second is latecomer dc_red with 40 correct from 68 equalling 58.8% (at one stage he was flying high at 65% but three shit rounds straight have seen him fall off the pace).

While in third we have the late and great bennyasena, struck down by an evil webmarshall before he could load his six shooter (or eight shooter in the NRL picking stakes) with 65 correct picks from 114 equalling 57%. He started off with a hiss and a roar, and was sitting tied with yamis on 62% after week 7 but it was all down hill from there as first his form deserted him and then his internet access to anything worth looking at.

Anyway, some fascinating matchups this week. They might not be great games but are vital for the respective teams involved. Biggest ones in red. Watch out for this scenario...

Tigers beat the Roosters tonight, Warriors beat the Titans on Saturday, Dragons beat the Rabbitohs on Saturday and Bulldogs beat the Raiders on Sunday. If those results all happen then 7 teams will have all but sealed their playoff spots. The only doubtful team would be the Broncos on 22 but even they would have a two point buffer and a superior points differential which equates to an extra two comp points.

Sea Eagles v Knights - Sea Eagles easily. If the Knights won this it would be the upset of the year.

Tigers v Roosters - everyone is waiting for the Roosters bubble to burst but they actually seem to suddenly be a good team rather than one that's simply playing on emotion. On paper I picked them to be awful at the start of the year and that's how they were going but who knows now? Craid Fitzgibbon, their captain and goal kicker is out with a knee injury and I think that will be the difference for a narrow Tigers win despite them suffering the loss of their own goalkicker the scrawny twinkle toes Hodgson.

Warriors v Titans - Warriors should all but seal a playoff spot here but maybe not by too many. Might depend on the weather a bit as well as a Titans team with their season on the line. Crap weather is predicted and Cartwright has decided to leave out the slightly injured Mat Rogers for that very reason. They are two points outside the 8 with a -70 points differential now and MUST WIN this match despite Cartwright suggesting they are targeting next weeks game more than this one and are looking to win their last three to make it. Any team that dares risk that strategy is fucked.

Dragons v Rabbitohs - Rabbitohs are the only team with a realistic chance of still making the top 8 who aren't currently in it but the Dragons will still think they are an outside chance and at home they could spoil the Rabbitohs season. But if the Rabbitohs don't win this then all their effort and big strides this year will be flushed down the shitter along with any love they feel for one another.

Eels v Sharks - Sharks have an excellent defence and never lose by much, only problem for them is they have a positive points differential but lie second to last and should stay there after this match. Eels by 10.

Bulldogs v Raiders - 50th match between these two sides. Hard to go past the Bulldogs despite still missing Mason and Morrin suspended for the season. They still have SBW, El Masri, Tonga, Hughes, Ryan and Maitua with Shrek O'Meley back from injury and coming off the bench. The Raiders are hard to beat at home but away they are bloody awful with two wins from 10. If the Bulldogs would grow up off the field they would win the minor premiership but with them its like Snoop Dogg said, "if it ain't one thing it's a muthafucken nutha".

Storm v Broncos -Storm should draw one of their better crowds (read 13,000) and should give the Broncos fans a nervous few weeks by beating them by 10. Their matchup v the Bulldogs next week could have monumental repercussions for the losing team.

Panthers v Cowboys - this could go either way it just depends what Panthers side turns up. For most of the year its been their shit side. Big wins over the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs split by losses to the Dragons and Raiders sum things up. They could win because the Cowboys are all over the place with a negative points differential despite lying in 4th spot. For the Warriors sake I hope there's an upset and that's what I'll pick. Panthers to try to fight off the wooden spoon with a 4 point win.

Stats for the year to date:
Goal kicks
66/79 Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs)
62/85 Cameron Smith (Storm)
59/70 Luke Burt (Eels)

leading Warrior - Michael Witt with 40/42

18 Matthew Bowen (Cowboys)
16 Israel Folau (Eels)
15 Matt King (Storm)

leading Warrior - Wade McKinnon with 9

Try Assists
23 Scott Prince (Titans)
21 Johnathon Thurston (Cowboys)
20 Michael Monaghan (Sea Eagles)
20 Tim Smith (Eels)

leading Warrior - Michael Witt with 11

385 Steve Price (Warriors)
342 Petero Civoniceva (Broncos)
324 Roy Asotasi (Rabbitohs)

24 Matthew Bowen (Cowboys)
18 Wade McKinnon (Warriors)
17 Steve Turner (Storm)

53 Sonny Bill Williams (Bulldogs)
43 Anthony Tupou (Roosters)
43 Paul Gallen (Sharks)

leading Warrior - Steve Price with 29 (McKinnon has 28, Witt has 25)

794 Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters)
730 Micheal Luck (Warriors)
677 Lincoln Withers (Raiders)

Average Attendances
Season Average: 15,487 (last season was 15,600, 2005 was 16,468)
34,117 Brisbane
19,849 Cowboys
16,747 Titans
16,397 Bulldogs
16,395 Knights
15,698 Tigers
14,527 Sea Eagles
13,951 Rabbitohs
13,922 Eels
12,083 Roosters
11,857 Raiders
11,522 Storm
11,404 St George - Illawarra
11,048 Warriors
10,896 Sharks

A bit of a drop from the last two years crowds but it will still come in as the third best average ever. It's also been fairly solid with no clubs having really poor attendance. Only once before (2000) have all the clubs averaged over 10,000. Last year the Warriors had the worst crowd average with 8,829 so they have jumped a couple of thousand. That should go up a touch before the season end, especially if they could nab a home semi.

They'd be happy with the Titans though. Last time they had a team they averaged 6,599 in 1998 and in their debut season back in 1988 they only averaged 5,495. Shows how far things have come in that area.

Round 22 (alas, poor Titans, we hardly knew thee) 

Sea Eagles v Knights - Sportsfreak is right to ask why this perverse mismatch justifies prime time. Sea Eagles by 30+.

Tigers v Roosters - very hard to pick this one, but I'll go with Tigers.

Warriors v Titans - Unfortunately I will not be in attendance due to a prior commitment with Ms_Red - but home fans don't let my absence put you off. The game might be a bit closer than you would like, but a win's a win. Warriors.

Dragons v Rabbitohs - Another one of these dire NSW matchups. Dragons I guess.

Eels v Sharks - A more interesting contest, hard to see the home team losing. Eels.

Bulldogs v Raiders - The Dogs should win this one.

Storm v Broncos - Could be the game of the round if the young Broncos can fire up in Melbourne in front of the 5000 fans the likely minor premiers seem to have. But it's hard to see the Broncs winning there. Storm.

Panthers v Cowboys - I like the Cowboys, always have. This one's hard to pick. My mind says Panthers at home. My heart says Cowboys. Cowboys (can't take the safe option of the home team for every game!).

Last week's picks: DC_Red (3.5/8); Yamis (5.5/8 - but that included picking the Eels after they had won - I'll give you the Dragons for free though).

And for those who are missing Bennyasena's input to this blog, I can offer the following report:
My blogging has been destroyed by webmarshal - can't even get to, nor any anonymiser websites to get around it.

And they've blocked nrl website so I can't do my tips.

By the time I finish work it's time to go out.

Sad, but there's still the weekend eh?

And there's 79 pages of comments, many of them highly moronic, on the Herald website, about the Paul Buchanan affair. Follow the first link at your own peril.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Drug Policy Double-Standards 

I've had it with the ostensibly health-related meddling that is drug policy. Not merely because there should be strong limits to how far you can interfere in the lives of other adults "for their own good", but also because of the sheer duplicitous-ness that overlooks, in particular, the effects of alcohol (and to a certain extent tobacco).

To wit: the death of one person alleged to be due to party pills (NZ) or magic mushrooms (NL) is front page news, generating much heat for the prohibitionist lobby. Alcohol-related deaths, despite being considerably more frequent (reflecting, in part, much greater use of alcohol), rarely make headlines. Tobacco-related deaths almost never.

To consider the Dutch case more fully, prohibition of fresh mushrooms is being urged primarily because of "the death of a 17-year-old French girl, who jumped from a building after eating psychedelic mushrooms while on a school visit. ... [Her] parents blamed their daughter's death in March on hallucinations brought on by the mushrooms, although the teenager had suffered from psychiatric problems in the past." A sad case, no doubt, but how many people jump/slip/fall in ways that injure or kill themselves every fucking week as a result of alcohol?

Turning to New Zealand: a Liquor Shop was granted a licence on condition it not sell the (still legal) party pills because some local wowsers asserted:
"There is mounting evidence which suggests that the consumption of party pills is detrimental to people's health and well-being," the pair said.

"There is a very real risk that party pills consumed with alcohol can make people very ill.

"The causal link between the consumption of party pills and death has not been discounted."
Well no fucking shit, but consider the primary purpose of a liquor store is to sell alcohol, where the "causal link" to ill-health is well fucking established.

The NZ Ministry of Health estimates "that alcohol-related conditions account for 3.1% of all male deaths and 1.41% of all female deaths in New Zealand" and adds that "[a]s well as directly causing deaths, alcohol-related health problems cause distress and disability, and result in a significant and costly use of health services."

Some statistics, even when taken with a grain of salt, make for interesting reading:

Drug-related deaths in NZ (all drugs, not just the "evil" ones):

Tobacco: In 1996, approximately 4700 deaths were attributed to tobacco smoking, accounting for 17 percent of all deaths.

Alcohol: There were 142 deaths in 1997 where the underlying cause of death was an alcohol-related condition. The age-standardised mortality rate due to alcohol-related conditions was 3.3 per 100,000 population.

Opiates: There were 156 deaths in the period 1990–96 [Ed: note longer time period] where opiate-related conditions or poisonings were the underlying cause of death.

Cannabis: There were seven deaths over the period 1990-96 where a cannabis-related condition such as drug abuse or dependence was the underlying cause of death

Hallucinogens: There were two deaths between 1990 and 1996 where a hallucinogen (in combination with other drugs) was the underlying cause of death.

You get the general idea.

Labels: , ,

Paul Buchanan affair 

Great coverage on Scoop, complete with audio. Paul Buchanan himself makes a number of interesting points ... including the question of what is happening to his seven graduate students, who must also be curious on this point. While nominal replacements can always be found, Buchanan's specialist knowledge is hardly thick on the ground.

Is it a firing offence to write an angry, highly ill-advised email one evening and then apologise for it the next day? What is really going on here?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


I'm dishing out some awards for crap this morning.

Crap 1: "Youth Crime on the Rise: Violent Teens Terrorize Streets!!" The Dominion Post's Paul Easton illustrates an inability to write a coherent introductory paragraph, or even to convert raw numbers of offenders/offences to per capita rates.

Crap 2: Check out this guy's "promise anything" approach to the Auckland mayoralty. Lower rates! No new water charges! Public transport for all! Land of milk and honey awaits voters. Reminds me of a certain national political party that promised spending increases in almost every area plus substantial tax cuts.

Crap 3: A certain distinguished commentator on international relations and defence has been fired by a certain tertiary education sector employer. I'm not going to link this one.


Friday, August 03, 2007

Round 21 

Round 20 was a dire week for me (4/8) but better for prominent tipster Yamis (6/8). Rumour has it that the seldom-sighted Bennyasena made a few dollars on the half-time/full-time bet for the Warriors over the Knights.

This week is a real lottery, with many sweet match-ups, but here goes:

Knights v Dragons - Not actually very sweet at all. Dragons.

Bulldogs v Eels - A bit more like it. Bulldogs.

Titans v Tigers - Good grief what's happened to the Titans? Tigers.

Cowboys v Raiders - Not so scintillating either - go with home advantage. Cowboys.

Panther v Rabbitohs - Interesting. I don't know. Rabbitohs.

Roosters v Warriors - Arrrgghhhh. My heart says Warriors. My mind says Roosters. Roosters.

Broncos v Sea Eagles - Arrrgghhhh again. Umm - Broncos. It's the 20th anniversary of their first encounter, when the Broncos slaughtered the reigning champs.

Sharks v Storm - The Storm won't fuck up again. Storm.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bullshit and jellybeans 

Good god, the pressure at work ramps up suddenly (with the impending doom that is several serious deadlines of the non-negotiable type) and suddenly I'm awake at 2 in the morning wondering if I should get on to the computer and resume work (I didn't). Instead I had a glass of wine and continued reading Dawkin's "The God Delusion." It's actually very engaging, even at 3.45 am. Two preliminary criticisms though: (1) the unnecessary, and awkward, colloquial tone in parts clearly intended for an American audience (surprisingly enough, Oxford professors struggle to pull this off); and (2) of the various arguments for god, the one heard most often today concerns the authority and inerrancy of the Bible. Rather longer needs to be spent on investigating this, rather than the now rather obscure philosophical postulates for god's existence.

Anyway, while doing some reading around the traps:

Bullshit 1: The questions to be asked of women in hospitals. In reality, probably close to 100% of the adult population could honestly answer yes to all three. At least two are poorly phrased and somewhat irrelevant. "Have you ever felt controlled or always criticised?" (Who hasn't - what is the connection to abuse here) and "Have you been asked to do anything sexual that you didn't want to do?" (spectacularly irrelevant - there is no harm in asking. The issue is whether individuals have the ability to say no, and have that respected). Some of these points are picked up on in the 19 pages(!!) of comments on the NZ Herald site.

Bullshit 2: Further to the above, I'm very skeptical about all this invoking of "community" (and "community responsibility") for child abuse. It is not at all clear what "community" might mean in this context, and in any case those responsible for addressing child abuse are surely those individuals who know, or have strong reasons to suspect, that abuse is occurring. Many of us are too busy working to worry about, or know about, "community" anyway. I don't really know which of my neighbours have children ... let alone how they treat them.

Update: holy crap, I actually agree with Stephen Franks on this, at least in part. He writes:
“Maori” are blamed collectively for the predictable wickedness of individuals bred by welfare that will not discriminate between the deserving and the undeserving poor.

Surely we must be reaching a nadir of some sort. Only two generations ago we were noted for stoic self reliance. Now every one in “the community” must bear the guilt and responsibility for individual viciousness.

I fail to see what "welfare" has to do with this, one way or the other, but Franks is right to criticize the group think at work.

Bullshit 3: NRT (whose site is rather diminished by the absence of comments) smells National bullshit on the alleged junket to Australia. Good work - still, the damage is probably done, with the compliant media buying another press release. Does anyone know whether Newstalk ZB led with this "story" yesterday? It's right up their alley.

Now where are the jellybeans you ask? There aren't any ... it was all a ploy to get you to read this far.

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